I have been a paid search and SEO consultant for several for several years and I realize that one comment by one person can make or break a company. While most complaints are legit there are others that are simply false made by people who have never worked or done business with the individual or company being complained about.
Did someone slam you online, leaving you reeling from unfounded claims and comments meant to ruin you and your business? Were there threats and accusations?
You could start addressing the complaint by contacting Reputation Management companies with quotes starting in the $7500 range. Some complaint boards provide no method of removal other than costly reputation management of their own or are actually owned by competing online reputation management companies registered in foreign countries anonymously. Online Reputation Management is very tricky once issues arise, without constant work and upkeep the tiniest comment could bring it all back to life and place it atop search results on every search engine. Most well known reputation management companies can take steps to control these issues from reappearing but only at a premium cost small businesses sometimes can’t handle.
If you wish to address the issue yourself and avoid the pricey contractual obligations offered by some of these experts, here is a little DIY info which I have just begun incorporating myself.
Who made the negative post and is there any truth to it?
The remark could have been from a competitor, ex-employee or even an online reputation company just looking for another client and seeing you as an easy target/client. Making negative comments and posts on certain complaints boards will automatically cause Online Reputation Management companies to contact you via email or phone peddling their services or unique tools. You can find your own complaints and research them accordingly.
Stop the Mudslinging! If the complaint is real your best method of removal is to address it with the client, resolve the issue as best you can and move on. That client’s positive response and applause of your behavior will pay dividends in your company’s future online. If the negative post, review or comment made was a total fake, you will turn your attention to how you can keep them from ranking on search results or push them far enough back that they will not be seen.
Redesign your Site
Quick solutions can include addressing the Usability, Functionality and Presentation of your site. These three simple steps improve customer interaction and register with Google, Bing & Yahoo results. Add new content, provide expanded service locations and (if you have the budget) purchase similar domains and optimize each homepage on every domain and website.
Snippets, Description or Keywords
Research titles and keywords related to the negative comments so you can turn the tables and use them in your favor. If posts continuously claim your company is a scam, utilize that keyword for a cheap domain or as the title for an article. Then load said article or domain with positive information, reviews and said keywords with one or two phrases. Include your company name, your own name, brand, event or applicable information to repeatedly with posts and articles and focus on all the positives as well as vague referencing to the negative post. Be smart about your posts; stay clear of breaking news or scandal.
Spread Good News
Start by using content you have already created like articles, biographies and even edited webpage content from your original website. Here are some sites where you can start posting as a business or an individual for free, with the help of editing tools and website templates
If you have never written anything longer than your name at the bottom of a birthday card and have been unable to create any posts, comments or content you may want to look around for help online. Plenty of sites like Odesk.com, SEOclerks.com or even Fiverr.com will provide affordable assistance from a range of sources, remote, foreign and domestic with years of experience you can hire for a 1000 word article you can touch up and post as your own. Do remember you get what you pay for, so research writing services wisely.
Good Ole Link building
Link building will only do so much to deter the progress of or bury the comments made against you, especially depending on the complaints board page or site it was made on. Google is very particular about links you build for and against, but fast to react to anything affecting the complaint board. A couple of bad links can lead to your own demise. Instead continue on the avenue of posts, comments and articles that provide better results from Google.
You could blog, you could even link your blogging networks and promote your content on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter accounts. Posting outlandish views, opinions, comments or pseudo news makes the outrageously stupid often more popular than the incredibly educated.
On the flip-side not everyone has a voice they can or should blog with, sharing rage and crazy ideas, attempting to become a loon is not going to help your company’s online reputation, so do muzzle the insanity.
YouTube your Ass Off!
Creating friendly video content changes people’s perception of you and creates the opportunity for positive remarks and posts to appear all over your videos. You can use TOSH.0 methods of comedic video stunts or straight laced brand commercials, either way online video is an incredible way to advertise. Best thing is you can post something no matter how old, tag and spread it through social media. With your video you make sure to insert your phrase when possible in the titles or in the description and remember it is all about creating positive remarks about YOU!
When trying these recommendations do keep in mind that you can hire help long term, short term or per project on Odesk.com, Fiverr.com or SEOclerks.com from all over the world and the USA. Don’t be tempted by Black Hat retribution options like Google Bombing the complaints board, posting similar venomous vitriol against the original guilty party anonymously on other boards or using a proxy to review and vote down their business “lest you feed the troll”. As mentioned you want to stop the mudslinging as opposed to encouraging nuclear exchanges.
Alerts, emails and prevention
Set up content alerts to help avoid future issues, if something does come up don’t panic, remember what you have already learned and repeat the process. If you still have an active network of profiles, domains and working blogs, it should take even less time to rid yourself of any false complaints.
Always remember the best advice is to address legitimate complaints immediately, which will provide the best end result as well as positive response and review from the otherwise disgruntled party.
The information above is a good way to start repairing your reputation online; results will vary depending on the extent of the damage in comments made against you or your company. If, no matter what you try the issue becomes never-ending or extremely damaging, you may need to address your issue with an attorney or even resort to hiring a reputation management company.